Call it grassroots economy. That's the sight of growers taking their produce to an open air market in the city.
It's a business transaction that seems timeless. The Lakes Area Growers Market is back for the season at the Franklin Arts Center parking lot in Brainerd on Tuesdays and at Gander Mountain's parking lot in Baxter on Fridays. Growers set up their produce from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Honey from beekeeper Phil Hanson of Aitkin filled his booth with raw honey in jars and processed honey in bottles and jars. Additional growers brought in vegetable and flowering plants, tomatoes ready to go for container gardens and other home-made items. Brainerd Dispatch/Renee Richardson » Purchase reprints of this photo.
At last week's market in Brainerd growers were challenged with cool weather and blustery winds. Stands offered vegetable plants, flowers, honey and other home-made goods. There were cherry tomatoes set for container gardening and heirloom tomato plants among a host of other vegetables for those who want to supplement their groceries this summer. And booths of flowers provided a riot of color.
David Morseth of Great River Gardens of Aitkin said after the Memorial Day weekend more people will feel comfortable putting their flowers in once the traditional last frost date has passed here. Alan Cunningham of Natural Spring Farm near Brainerd was taking vegetable and flowering plants to the market for the first time Tuesday and planned to be back the following week. While sales were a little slower Tuesday, growers said business has been good.
A Lakes Area Growers Market customer bought a plant from David Morseth of Great River Gardens in Aitkin and McGregor at the open air market Tuesday at Franklin Arts Center. Brainerd Dispatch/Renee Richardson » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Beekeeper Phil Hanson of Aitkin had rows of honey jars. He said this past winter he lost 40 colonies of bees out of 47. Now he's leasing 100 colonies of bees from a friend. Hanson's providing the bee care and they are splitting the honey. Hanson said the average bee colony will provide 65 to 70 pounds of honey. At a recent beekeepers meeting in Aitkin, Hanson said 64 beekeepers attended from Carleton to Staples with young members being mentored by older beekeepers.
Hanson has been a beekeeper for 40 years. Now the bees are bringing in pollen from dandelions by the handful. Hanson said he enjoys just watching the bees at work. After all these years he hasn't tired of the experience and now hears other new beekeepers doing the same thing.
Area gardeners may be putting out more plants since this holiday weekend signals the traditional end date for frost in the region. Great River Gardens of Aitkin had geraniums at its booth at the grower's market in Brainerd. Brainerd Dispatch/Renee Richardson » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Hanson said he'd get a call and his wife would say he was outside with his "girlfriends."
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5852.
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